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Students interested in the Honors College, St. Louis area
Springfield has a lot of great choices when it comes to going out to eat. I could name a dozen favorites that are not chain restaurants. We have always been known for our Chinese food, including a restaurant that offers the original recipe for Cashew Chicken (it was invented in Springfield, you know). You can also get good sushi here, good steaks, and decadent frozen custard. That said, when asked about my favorite restaurant, I feel I can honestly give only one answer: I carry a torch for a local chain known as Mexican Villa. They have several locations, but I recommend going to the original, which is on National Avenue, a few blocks south of campus. Mexican Villa is awesome! It is Springfield’s unique and delicious take on traditional Tex-Mex food. I recommend the Sancho Enchilada-Style. You also can’t go wrong with the tacos. Whatever you choose, get some queso sauce for your chips – best in town!
I’m a child of the ‘70s and ‘80s, so my favorite movies are all of the classics: Star Wars (the original ’77), The Empire Strikes Back, Caddyshack, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Wrath of Khan, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, etc. I’m also an avid reader and my favorite books tend to be from the categories of fantasy and science fiction. They include The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, The Foundation Trilogy and the Robot novels by Isaac Asimov, the first three Dune novels by Frank Herbert, just about everything by H. P. Lovecraft, the Conan tales by Robert Howard, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series, etc. I could go on and on…
This is a genuinely tough question. I’m lucky to work at a university where I can take classes for free, just for the sake of enjoyment and for the stimulation of learning new things. Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of them and it is hard to narrow it down. I could, for example, choose from classes I took while on a education abroad trip to London when I was a sophomore. There’s nothing like being in a Shakespeare class and then going to a production at the Globe Theatre or exploring Stratford-Upon-Avon. Reading English Literature has a whole new meaning when you can swing by the British Museum after class and look at the world’s oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf. I’ve also taken many amazing classes on the Springfield campus and I’ve learned a lot that I put into practice every day in my job. If pressed for a favorite, however, and I had to pick just one, I’d have to go with “History of Piracy in the Americas,” taught by the Director of the Honors College and Distinguished Professor of History, John Chuchiak. That class is fun, informative, and utterly fascinating and it is taught by an engaging teaching with tremendous expertise in the field. I heartily recommend signing up for it if you get the chance!
I’ve been lucky enough to be at Missouri State for a long time and during that period, I have served as student, staff member and faculty member. I think I can distill my experiences down into just two pieces of advice. 1.) Go to class. You’d be amazed how much goes on in a college classroom and just how much you can learn by being there. Also, unlike in high school and when you are living at home, you’re on your own to get motivated to get out of bed every morning. There’s a real temptation to skip class and figure you’ll make it up later. The best way to succeed, however, is to be present, so go to class! 2.) Get involved. College has so many opportunities and getting involved in student organizations and campus activities will provide you with friendships and experiences that you will cherish for a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to try something new, either. There are a lot of weird and wonderful things to do on a college campus and you may surprise yourself with how much fun you’re having doing something you never pictured yourself doing. That said, don’t forget about that first piece of advice!